The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World)

by Elliot N. Dorff

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An accessible introduction to the Jewish concept of our responsibility
to care for others and repair the world.

For everyone who wants to understand the meaning and significance of tikkun olam (repairing the world) in Jewish spiritual life, this book


An accessible introduction to the Jewish concept of our responsibility
to care for others and repair the world.

For everyone who wants to understand the meaning and significance of tikkun olam (repairing the world) in Jewish spiritual life, this book shows the way into an essential aspect of Judaism and allows you to interact directly with the sacred texts of the Jewish tradition.

Guided by Dr. Elliot N. Dorff, Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the University of Judaism, this comprehensive introduction explores the roots of the beliefs and laws that are the basis of the Jewish commitment to improve the world. It looks at the various motivations that the sacred texts provide for caring for others, the ways the Jewish tradition seeks to foster such concerns in our social and family relationships, and the kind of society that Jews should strive to create as partners with God.

  • What tikkun olam is. Ancient idea? New concept? The underlying theory has developed over time and branched into related terms and concepts that Judaism has used over thousands of years to describe the duties we now identify as acts of tikkun loam.
  • Why we engage in acts of tikkun loam. Reasons include, but go far beyond, a general humanitarian feeling that we might have or the hope that if we help others, others will be there to help us.
  • How we repair the world. The concrete expressions of tikkun olam in our families, our communities, the wider Jewish community, and the world at large help shape one of the most important aspects of the Jewish tradition.

By illuminating Judaism’s understanding of the components of an ideal world, and the importance of justice, compassion, education, piety, social and familial harmony and enrichment, and physical flourishing for both the individual and society, we see how this ancient quest for a world with all these elements helps us define Jewish identity and mission today.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this straightforward, inspiring book, Dorff (who won the National Jewish Book Award for To Do the Right and the Good) introduces the Jewish practice of tikkun olam-healing or repairing the world. He opens with the history of tikkun olam, tracing the concept from the time of the Mishnah (circa 200 C.E.), showing that the imperative to repair the world is closely related to other Jewish values like justice and loving-kindness. After laying this theological and historical groundwork, Dorff moves on to practical considerations: what does repairing the world actually entail? Tikkun olam calls Jews to acts of social justice-it's no coincidence that throughout American history, Jews have been at the forefront of movements for civil rights and a living wage. But tikkun olam also governs issues like speech; people interested in repairing the world shouldn't gossip or commit slander. In Dorff's view, tikkun olam encompasses celebrating marriages and births with our neighbors, and mourning deaths with them. Indeed, even maintaining good relationships with our family is part of repairing the world, and Dorff devotes three chapters to explaining marital, filial and parental obligations. Jews and non-Jews alike will find Dorff's exhortations challenging and provocative. (Dec.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

Longhill Partners
Publication date:
The Way Into Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
875 KB

What People are saying about this

Richard J. Mouw
"Provides a rich store of practical wisdom based on solid learning and speaks to our hearts. A gift to all who want to ‘do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord."
president and professor of Christian philosophy, Fuller Theological Seminary
Danny Siegel
"Brilliant, lucid, and eminently accessible... combines a profound command of Jewish text with an acute grasp of the nature of human beings and the way of the world. A multitude of mitzvahs and many lives changed for the better will most certainly result."
author, poet, and lecturer
Rabbi Amy Eilberg
"Conveys the depth, scope and reach of Jewish teachings on tikkun olam... Brilliantly examines the deep theological roots of the Jewish social vision, the enormous range of human life encompassed by these teachings, and the expansive vision of the ideal world we are called to co-create. An essential for every Jewish bookshelf."
co-director of the Morei Derekh Training Program Yedidya Center for Jewish Spiritual Direction
David A. Teutsch
"Compellingly addresses the social challenges of our time. Shows how each of us can improve our lives and our world through how we treat our family and friends, help those in need, and lead lives of compassion."
director of the Ethics Center at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College; author of Spiritual Community: The Power to Restore Hope, Commitment and Joy
David Ellenson
"Provides a clear and straightforward path that combines a deep knowledge of Jewish sources with wisdom and compassion to direct our conduct in the world. A treasure for all people concerned to meet the challenges and obligations of personal and communal life in a complex and demanding modern setting."
president, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion

Meet the Author

Rabbi Elliott N. Dorff, PhD, is the author of many important books, including The Way Into Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, and The Jewish Approach to Repairing the World (Tikkun Olam): A Brief Introduction for Christians. An active voice in contemporary interfaith dialogue, he is Rector and Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at the American Jewish University (formerly the University of Judaism), and chair of the Academy of Judaic, Christian and Muslim Studies.

Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, PhD, is available to speak on the following topics:

  • Jewish Medical Ethics
  • Conservative Judaism
  • Jewish and American Law
  • Finding God in Prayer
  • A Jewish Approach to Poverty

Click here to contact the author.

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